• July 11, 2014

Truck crashes into Temple hotel

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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:17 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Victor O'Brien

Killeen Daily Herald

An 18-wheeler took a miraculous 65-mph journey Thursday.

The driver of an 18-wheeler filled with auto parts lost consciousness while traveling approximately 65 mph around 8:25 a.m. Thursday. The truck careened across a street, a ravine, two parking lots and into a Temple hotel without causing any life-threatening injuries to people, according to a Temple Police news release.

"We all agree, it was a miracle someone wasn't hurt or killed with all the distance and speed that was traveled," Temple Police spokesman Sgt. Brad Hunt said.

Temple first responders were called to what was being reported as an explosion and fire at the Residence Inn Marriot along South General Bruce Drive. They arrived to find no fire or explosion, but an 18-wheeler had crashed into the hotel, a news release stated.

The crash severely damaged rooms on the first and second floors where the truck went as much as 30-feet deep into them. The hotel was evacuated and a search took place to locate the customers in occupied rooms.

The truck's driver, Gustavo Rodriguez, 50, of Eagle Pass was freed from the truck at 10:10 a.m. He was taken to Scott & White Hospital. He remained there through the evening being treated for injuries to the upper body, head and legs, the release stated.

One female guest was taken to Scott & White with lacerations to her legs after being near a room struck by the trailer. Two other guests staying in a damaged room were eating breakfast when the crash happened. Another guest in a second-floor room was not in the room during the crash.

The news release stated the truck will remain jammed in the building until City of Temple construction crews can stabilize the building, which suffered damage to three structural support walls. Hunt said that is expected to take at least 24 hours.

The accident happened when the truck driver, headed northbound on Interstate 35 in Temple in a 65-mph speed zone, succumbed to sleepiness or a medical condition. The truck drove off I-35 down a sloped, grass median and crossed the service road of South General Bruce Drive. The truck then drove through the parking lot of Outdoor American Mall without hitting anyone. The truck continued up a sloped embankment approximately 10 feet in the air where it leapt off the ground flying 100 feet over a retaining pond, landscaping and into the hotel.

Contact Victor O'Brien at vobrien@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468.

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